Saturday, January 28, 2023

Kunevicius ties school record in Independence’s win at Berkshire

BURTON—Things didn’t go exactly the way Independence coach Ryan MacRaild had hoped they would in a Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division matchup at Berkshire on Tuesday.

The Blue Devils entered the game needing a win to clinch their second straight CVC title but the upstart Badgers had a monumental upset on their minds. Independence used a second half rally led by Wyatt Kunevicius, who tied a school record with six goals, to pull out the 8-2 win.

“Berkshire came to play tonight and gave us all we could handle in the first half,” MacRaild said. “They were flying around and we were kind of getting used to the field and getting our feet under us a little bit. We had some communication errors here and there led to some problems. We figured it out at halftime and straightened things around and we went back-to-back this year.”

Berkshire’s Karsten Bergmeier stunned the Blue Devils when he snuck a ball into the net in the 10th minute to give the Badgers an early 1-0 lead.

Kunevicius then scored two goals in a six-minute span to put Independence on top, 2-1.

The Badgers didn’t flinch.

Freshman Sam Adams tied it with 3:24 left in the half but Kunevicius headed his third goal of the night into the upper right corner two minutes later to give the Blue Devils a 3-2 lead at the break.

That last minute goal was a sign of what’s to come in the second half.

Kunevicius scored his fourth goal just 54 seconds into the second half and got No. 5 with 32:40 left in the game.

Christian Seif broke Kunevicius’ scoring streak with a goal to push Independence’s lead to 6-2 with 18:44 left to play and Tim Marcinko added another with just seven minutes to go.

Kunevicius tied the school record with his sixth goal three minutes later.

“I kind of refer to him as an unorthodox style soccer player,” MacRaild said of Kunevicius. “He's like a bull in a china shop. He can finish, that's his gift. He's able to put the ball in the net. The team knows that. They know if they get him the ball he has a chance of doing something with it. You've got guys like Sam Belitz that can put it away and Jared McCullough was having some shots but it fell to Wyatt enough tonight that he could make the play and get them on the board and carried the team tonight.”

Independence improved to 11-1-2 overall and finished 5-0-1 in league play.

“I'm pleased for the boys,” MacRaild said. “They worked hard and earned it. It's not just one game, it’s a number of games this season that we had to bring it. Kirtland gave us a good game last week and Beachwood earlier; it's nice to come out on top again.”


Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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